April 23, 2015 DPDC Membership Meeting
The meeting commenced at 7:00 pm. We were delighted to welcome Penny Barnard Schaeber and Barbara Lawton as guests. Penny addressed the topic Why Democrats Don’t Win and gave assembled members the benefit of her past experience. Here are some points Penny emphasized:
- Be positive, polite, and respectful.
- Focus on economics.
- Make the campaign a grassroots effort-a homegrown effort.
- Project a better, stronger message. Use positive messaging: help self-sufficiency.
- Let it be known that we are Democrats. Show Democratic pride!
- Be public and visible.
- Connect with young people.
- Request info—input from voters.
Penny discussed why she lost 2 of her last 5 races. Changes she would make to her approach are:
- Start 2 years out. Build a strong grass roots base.
- Identify helpers in every community.
- Talk to elected officials in every community.
- In rural areas get a few farmers to support you (Farm Association, Farm Union)
- Go to town meetings. (Tonia Lor-senate race)
- Organize early and deeply.
- Ask for endorsements.
- Develop unique, individual messages.
- The other side has negative, nasty commercials. You need to push back! Lawsuit for false advertising—announce publically. Respond immediately with District Attorney in a press conference.
- A problem is that Democrats tend not to vote in midterm elections. We need parties to build the base-up to 2 years before the election. Pay attention to local issues.
- Why is the Democratic Party not generating its own consultants? Latest hired consultants had an 80% loss rate. Their main mission seems to be maintain their own jobs, not help elect Democratic candidates.
More of Penny’s ideas are:
- The national message in 2014 was weak. We need to coordinate messaging. Look at MN.
- Locally phone through the voter file. Ask: what is the most important issue? –conduct a small survey. We need to take ownership of the voter file and get it cleaned up (take dead people off the list)
- Young people. Reach out to nearby colleges, technical colleges, and high school youth–help form Young Dems Clubs in high schools. Do some things fun with them.
- Good candidates and poor consultants. Strive to develop leaders among these 20-35 yr. old young professionals.
- Do not hide from being Democrats!
- Find the energetic.
- Support good candidates.
- Host issue-oriented house parties (CAFOs, billboards, ground water, etc.)
- Use short newspaper ads, such as “Democrats stand for __________________.”
- Recruit posters for our Democratic home page, writers of letter to the editor, folks to research topics, individuals to update voter list, send post cards
- Ask a person to do a task-not overwhelming, Make a list of little bitty things to do that have an end point.
Finally Jason Raye, who is running for Democratic Party state chairman spoke to us, requesting our support. Penny is running for first vice chairman of the state Democratic Party.